Back to school stationery list: best pencil cases, pens and more for kids

Amy Sedghi
·6-min read

As the new academic year looms, so does the list of bits and pieces your little ones need to be ready come the first day of term.

Along with sorting school uniforms and lunch boxes, another task is gathering all the stationery items your child needs, from pencil cases and pens to highlighters and notebooks.

Of course, the supplies a child is required to bring in differs by school, age group and the subjects they're studying. And now, given new Covid-19 measures, some schools are limiting the objects that children can bring in. So with that in mind, it’s worth checking out items that can be easily wiped down, personalised and help streamline what your child has to take into school.

Whether they're heading off to primary, secondary or upper school, we’ve got all the items they’ll need come the first day of term.

Best pencil cases

Galaxy Double Up Hardtop Pencil Case

Known for their vivid and eye-catching bags, lunch boxes and cases, Smiggle is hugely popular with young children. Their hardtop pencil case has two main compartments with double zips. Internal pen slots are great for teaching children how to organise their items, while the mesh pockets let them see their equipment at a glance without having to root through (or God forbid, tip out) the pencil case. Can also be wiped clean and comes in either a dinosaur, unicorn, animal, space or food design.

£15.50 | Smiggle

Personalised Marl Grey Block Pencil Case with Matching HB Pencils and Erasers

There are quite a few personalised pencil case options on the market is especially good for seeking out bespoke options, but what we really liked about this one - printed in the UK by That’s My Pencil - is that it comes with a set of 12 personalised HB pencils too. You can choose from 11 different colours for the pencils, including shades such as mint green and lilac, and the writing on the case will is automatically matched to it.

£16.99 | Amazon

Oii Sage Grey Pencil Case

For older children, this pencil case by Scandi label Oii, is a stylish option to keep all their pens and pencils together. It’s also great for environmentally conscious teens as it’s made from recycled plastic bottles in a climate compensated production chain. We really liked the muted tones of the sage grey case, but it does also come in two other colourways: mustard and misty rose.

£18 | Alex and Alexa

Best pens and pencils

Slogan Mechanical Ballpoint Pens

Whilst a pack of plain biros will do the job nicely, if you’re looking for a ballpoint pen that’s a little bit more fun for the kids, then these slogan pens are a nice choice. The black ink ballpoint pens come as a pack of four with messages such as ‘very important pen’ and ‘write your own story’ on them.

£4 | Paperchase

BiC Shine 4 Colours Pen

As some schools will stipulate a range of coloured pens for their students, having a pen that can switch shades at the click of a button is a handy piece of equipment. It also eliminates bringing in more items than needed - another thing some schools are focused on, especially given the current sanitising measures. From BiC - the trusted pen manufacturer - these pens can switch between black, blue, red and green ink, and with three in a pack, you can divide them up or keep for back-ups.

£3 | The Works

Parker Jotter Originals Orange Fountain Pen

With its bright splash of orange colour and an option to engrave a name on it (at an additional £6.50), this pen shouldn’t end up in a lost property box. Hopefully.

Parker are well-known for their quality fountain pens so you could look at this as an investment that will stand the test of time. We also think it would make a nice gift if you’re still looking for something to reward recent exam success.

£13 | Executive Pens Direct

BiC Marking Highlighters

This pack of six highlighters come in bold but cute pastel shades. The pointed nib of these means they’re useful for bullet points and finer underlining, as well as highlighting chunkier sections of text.

£6 | Paperchase

Mixed Pencils Set 44 Pack

If you’re looking for a value pack to tick all of your child’s pencil needs, then this 44 pack from Hobbycraft is a winner. For under a tenner, you get 12 colouring pencils, 12 watercolour pencils, six metallic pencils, six sketching pencils, six pastel pencils, a sharpener and eraser. It’s a great option for covering all bases and encouraging your children to experiment with sketching, colouring and painting.

£8 | Hobby Craft

Best notebooks and folders

Bright Ideas Notebook

From Cornwall based ethical company Frugi, this sweet notebook is made of FSC certified paper and features a rhino design, bringing attention to their threatened status. The A5 notebook comes with 192 lined pages and a gold foil detailing on the front. The perfect canvas for all their bright ideas.

£7.50 | Frugi

Polka Dots Weekly Planner

This beautiful polka dot planner from stylish stationery brand Papier, is as close as you’ll get to making organisation fun. The 54-week view planner has plenty of space for extra notes and can be used at any time of the year as no fixed dates have been printed. You can also personalise it for a thoughtful extra touch.

£21.99 | Papier

Mint A4 Project Book

A project book is often requested for sixth form students and it’s a handy addition to have. This mint A4 project book from Hobby Craft keeps things simple, with five dividers so even if they’re doing more than three subjects, there’s still space. Given the plain front, it can either be kept business-like or can be customised easily with stickers.

£10 | Hobby Craft

Henley Blue Stripe A4 Rollbound Lever Arch File

Keeping notes and school paperwork neat is no easy feat, but hopefully this chic folder from WHSmith will ease the pain. They also have a nice range of pastels and bolder colours so children and teens can enjoy mixing and matching their favourite styles. There’s currently a three for two offer on so go, go, go.

£4.99 | WHSmith

Best additional items

Helix Oxford Limited Edition 9-Piece Maths Set

Covering all their maths equipment needs, this 9-piece set by Helix Oxford, includes a compass, set square, 180 degree protractor and 15cm ruler amongst other items. We love that it all fits neatly into its tin, which can then be easily slotted into a school bag.

£4 | The Works

Casio FX-83GTX Black Scientific Calculator

Not the most exciting of purchases, but a necessary one as your child progresses through school. Casio’s scientific calculator has everything they’ll need for maths and science subjects and this model is one of WHSmith’s top sellers.

£12.99 | WHSmith *On sale from £18.99

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